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Java IDE: What Are the Best IDE for Java Beginners?

Medinah Aina - January 24, 2022

Java is a general-purpose, high-level, object oriented programming language with few implementation dependencies. It was created in the 1990s by James Gosling and is primarily used for creating internet-based applications. It can also be used as a server-side language for backend development projects.

Java is popularly known for being very portable, easy to use, reliable, and secure. It has been used to write popular software programs like Google and Android OS, Netflix, Spotify, LinkedIn, Uber, and Minecraft. Programmers use IDE to write high-quality, reliable code. This article will cover the best Java IDE and how to use them.

What Is an IDE?

An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software application that consists of a collection of software development tools that work together to aid developers in developing software programs. IDE have several features that help with coding, such as a translator, compiler, autocomplete, debugger, libraries, auto-documentation, and build automation.

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There are several IDE available for each programming language, and some support multiple programming languages. Some IDE are desktop-based, while others are online-based. Desktop-based IDE must be installed before use, while online or cloud-based IDE can be accessed from any device as long as there is an internet connection.

What Is the Difference Between an IDE and a Code Editor?

An IDE is a software program that includes a combination of developer tools that make a coding process easier. A code editor is a text editor designed to help make the code editing process easier. The main difference between both tools is one is a combination of powerful tools while the other is a single tool that can be part of a whole.

An IDE includes a text editor, code editor, inbuilt debugger, compiler, smart code completion, syntax highlighting, code navigation, and other features. A developer will save development time and increase developer productivity by using an IDE. Some IDE include additional functionality like automatically correcting syntax errors without warning the programmer.

How to Choose the Best IDE for Java Development

Choosing the best IDE for Java development can be quite tasking as you have to find one that works best for you, is easy to install and use, and includes all of the features needed for your project. However, if you follow the tips below, you should be able to choose the best IDE for your next Java development project.

Skill Level

Your skill level is an important factor in determining the IDE you choose to work with. As a beginner, you want something simple, quick, and easy to use to facilitate your learning process. This is because something more complex may confuse you and lead to more errors than solutions.

Type of Project

Another important factor is the kind of project you want to use the IDE for. Some IDE are best for web development, others for software development. Considering this can save you a lot of trouble later on. You can research the best IDE for whatever project you want to work on. You should also ensure that it includes all of the required features for your entire project.

Complexity of Tool

Most importantly, the IDE you choose should be easy to understand and work with. You should investigate the difficulty level and see if it corresponds to your skills and experience. Some IDE are best for advanced and experienced developers due to their experience, while others are great for beginners and students.

The 5 Best Java IDE

A laptop with lines of code on the screen. Java IDE
Java IDE include the essential tools a developer needs to complete a simple application.

This section covers a few of the best desktop-based Java IDE that beginners can use and enjoy. There is a wide range of IDE that work well with Java and other languages but the ones listed here have been proven to work best with Java development and increase productivity.


Eclipse is one of the most popular and best Java IDE. It provIDE both a desktop and a cloud-based IDE. Eclipse Che is a cloud-based version that allows people to code using a browser. It has a custom compiler, a runtime core, a library collection, a modeling and control language, code refactoring, syntax validation, a code template, and plugins.

What Makes Eclipse a Good Choice for Java Beginners?

  • Supports other programming languages
  • User-friendly interface
  • Remote project management

Apache Netbeans

Netbeans is a free, open-source IDE that’s also known as one of the Java big threes and is the official IDE for Java 8. It supports various platforms and has inbuilt features that make custom software development easy for developers. Its features include code refactoring, side-by-side code comparison, plugin, debugger, static analysis tools, project management, source code editor, code converter, and batch code analyzers.

What Makes Apache Netbeans a Good Choice for Java Beginners?

  • Free
  • Cross-platform support
  • Encourages project management

IntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ IDEA is a multi-purpose IDE that offers advanced web, mobile, and hybrid development support. It is also one of Java IDE’s big three. Its features include cross-language refactoring, data flow analysis, chain completion, language injection, smart completion, inspection and quick-fixes, duplicate detection, and static member completion.

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What Makes IntelliJ IDEA a Good Choice for Java Beginners?

  • Offers the licensed community edition and proprietary commercial edition
  • Supports Java Virtual Machine-based programming languages like Kotlin
  • ProvIDE a wide variety of advanced features


BlueJ is a popular IDE among experienced Java developers. It is primarily intended for educational purposes and can be used for small-scale software development. It is completely free and the best option for beginner developers. It has a small and simple interface, scope coloring, object bench, code pad, object interaction, a teaching resource portal, and a supplementary BlueJ textbook.

What Makes BlueJ a Good Choice for Java Beginners?

  • Free
  • Has a small and simple interface allowing easy navigation
  • Doesn’t require installation to use and runs on multiple platforms


jGrasp is a Java IDE specifically designed for the automatic generation of software visualization. It is a lightweight development environment for Java developers that includes an integrated debugger and workbench. Its features produce static visualizations of source code structure, graphical debugger, syntax coloring, icons, and menu for compiling, running, and debugging.

What Makes jGrasp a Good Choice for Java Beginners?

  • Free and lightweight
  • Supports multiple programming languages
  • Offers a workbench

The 5 Best Java Online IDE

An online IDE is also known as a cloud-based or web-based IDE. It is an IDE that can be accessed through a browser rather than a desktop application. It does not require installation and does not have all of the powerful features of a traditional IDE. The good news is that they are mostly free, easy to find, and can be used on any device. Some of the best online Java IDE are listed below.


jDoodle is an online IDE created to help students learn Java but now supports over 70 languages, including C++, PHP, Perl, Python, and HTML. It has terminal support for running interactive programs, program saving and sharing features, a debugger, and support for most Java libraries.

What Makes jDoodle a Good Choice for Java Beginners?

  • Supports several languages
  • Great for pair programming
  • Quick and easy compilation process


Codiva is an online development environment for C, C++, and Java. Although it’s new software, it is one of the best due to its really good features. They include immediate compilation and autocomplete, supports multiple files and packages, allows interactive programs, and effectively runs on mobile devices.

What Makes Codiva a Good Choice for Java Beginners?

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Quick start
  • Online console for interactive user input


This web-based IDE is great for writing complex programs due to its built-in debugger. Its other features are its support for other programming languages, built-in code-formatter, code snippet, source code, learning materials, file upload, code sharing, compiler, and community forum. OnlineGDB is the first online IDE to support debugging with embedded GDB debuggers.

What Makes OnlineGDB a Good Choice for Java Beginners?

  • Appealing and easy-to-navigate interface
  • Questionnaire community forum
  • Enabled keyboard shortcuts


IDEOne is one of the earliest designed IDE and supports over 60 languages. Its features include a debugging tool, optional syntax highlighting, editing and downloading of source code files, viewing public code snippets, the option to set code snippets to private, and free to use.

What Makes IDEOne a Good Choice for Java Beginners?

  • Free to use
  • Doesn’t require installation, software, or plugins
  • Gives code and code execution details


CodeChef is a free online IDE that supports various programming languages such as C, C++, Python, and Ruby. It includes tutorials that can help you improve your programming skills and is appropriate for all skill levels.

What Makes CodeChef a Good Choice for Java Beginners?

  • Free
  • Helps to hone programming skills
  • User-friendly and great for all skill levels

Can the Best IDE for Java Help Me Break into Tech?

The best IDE for Java can help you break into tech by writing code and building high-quality software. However, it doesn’t equip you with coding skills. Instead, it polishes and enhances your previously learned skills. You cannot use it to learn how to code, but you can write cleaner, bug-free code.

To learn programming and break into tech, you should enroll in a coding bootcamp or an online or onsite college degree program. These are the educational paths available to developers. These will assist you in gaining the necessary skills to become a professional and learn how to use IDE, allowing you to begin a rewarding tech career.


Which IDE Should I Use for Java?

The best IDE to use for Java is IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, and NetBeans. They are the most popular and widely used Java IDE among experienced programmers.

Is IntelliJ the Best Java IDE?

IntelliJ is one of the best IDE for Java development. It promotes a smooth development workflow by being highly efficient and intelligent.

Is IntelliJ for Java Only?

IntelliJ was mainly designed for Java but supports many other programming languages, including JavaScript, Kotlin, Groovy, Scala, TypeScript, and SQL.

Can I use PyCharm for Java?

PyCharm is designed primarily for Python and has minimal support for Java. While some Java IDE support Python, little or no Python IDE support Java.

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Medinah Aina

About the author: Medinah, a certified Career Coach by the International Association of Professions Career College, is an expert copywriter and web designer, helping people learn more about education and careers in technology. She values in-depth research and providing accurate, helpful information. Medinah holds a BSc in Social Work from the University of Lagos and an Eduonix Certification in copywriting.

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